Blue Jays edge Red Sox to snap seven-game losing streak

Toronto Blue Jays catcher Reese McGuire (10) congratulates relief pitcher Ken Giles on his save after they defeated the Boston Red Sox in their American League MLB baseball game in Toronto on Tuesday, September 10, 2019. Fred Thornhill/CP

TORONTO — T.J. Zeuch‘s opening pitch in his first big-league start was one he’d like to have back.

The Toronto right-hander will still have fond memories of the game’s end result.

Zeuch refocused after Boston’s Mookie Betts homered on the first pitch and his Blue Jays teammates picked him up with three home runs in a 4-3 win over the Red Sox on Tuesday night at Rogers Centre.

“Facing that lineup, he did a good job,” said Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo. “I know he feels good about it.”

Cavan Biggio and Reese McGuire hit solo shots for Toronto while Rowdy Tellez hit a go-ahead two-run blast in the fifth inning as the Blue Jays (56-89) ended a seven-game losing skid.

“We didn’t keep the ball in the ballpark,” said Boston manager Alex Cora. “When you don’t do that, you pay the price at this level.”

Zeuch did well to keep his composure after Betts launched the ball off the foul screen in left field. It was his 28th homer of the year.

The Red Sox scorched a few more pitches in the opening frame off the 2016 first-round pick. Zeuch gave up a pair of singles before retiring the side.

“I thought I made adjustments to keep the ball a little farther down in the zone as the game went on,” Zeuch said. “But I didn’t keep the ball in the zone as much as I would have liked to and it cost me.”

He worked 4 1/3 innings, giving up six hits, three earned runs, three walks while striking out one.

Sign up for Blue Jays newsletters
Get the best of our Blue Jays coverage and exclusives delivered directly to your inbox!

Blue Jays Newsletter

*I understand that I may withdraw my consent at any time.

Reliever Justin Shafer (2-1) worked 1 1/3 innings for the win in the opener of a six-game homestand. Ken Giles closed things out in the ninth for his 19th save.

The Red Sox (76-69) have lost four games in a row. Toronto’s skid was its longest since a seven-gamer in April 2017.

Biggio tied the game in the third inning by turning on a 1-2 offering from Boston starter Nathan Eovaldi for his 13th homer of the year. McGuire went deep in the fourth for his fifth homer of the season.

The Red Sox chased Zeuch in the fifth after doubles by Rafael Devers and J.D. Martinez. Reliever Buddy Boshers gave up a two-out single to Andrew Benintendi that scored Martinez to put Boston up 3-2.

Eovaldi worked 4 1/3 innings and allowed six hits, three earned runs and two walks while fanning six.

His replacement, Josh Taylor (1-2), was greeted with Tellez’s 18th homer of the year. Biggio also came across after reaching on a leadoff walk.

“I’m just getting to pitches that I need to get to,” Tellez said. “I’m not trying to do too much. Sometimes in situations when I was younger, I was trying to hit balls a country mile when all you need to do is hit it right over the wall.”

The announced crowd of 17,819 stirred when the Blue Jays loaded the bases in the sixth for Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. However, Boston reliever Ryan Brasier handcuffed the young slugger, who grounded into a force to end the inning.

The Toronto bullpen didn’t give up an earned run. Boshers and Shafer were followed by Derek Law, Tim Mayza, Jordan Romano and Giles.

Boston put two runners on in the ninth before Giles got Devers to fly out to end the game, which took three hours 37 minutes to play.

Notes: Zeuch was Toronto’s 20th different starting pitcher this season. That moved the Blue Jays into a tie for second-most in MLB history, trailing only the 1915 Philadelphia Athletics (24 starters). … Toronto’s Trent Thornton (4-9, 5.23 earned-run average) was scheduled to start Wednesday night against fellow right-hander Jhoulys Chacin (3-10, 5.66). … Zeuch allowed two runs on three hits in his only other appearance, a four-inning relief stint against Atlanta on Sept. 3.

When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.